Matthew 13:33Posted 10/07/21, by Dan Vis
In reading the many verses that talk about the kingdom of God, it can be tempting to think about it as kind of a binary process. We are either inside or out. Saved or lost. But I'm not sure that's really the best perspective.
It seems more healthy to view it as a growth process. That it's not just yes or no, but rather, a gradually deepening experience. And that as citizens of this kingdom, our goal should be to consistently increase our loyalty to heaven. We should be constantly climbing higher.
Consider for example, this parable. It's just a single overlooked verse tucked away in a chapter with a bunch of other more popular parables. But it's worth a little extra focus now and then. Here's what it says:
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Clearly this is describing a gradual, progressive process--something that results in the leavening of the entire loaf. That is, the complete transformation of the whole person. But this parable also outlines the key elements needed to achieve that goal.
First it starts with the introduction of leaven, a living activating agent. This was something foreign to the lump. Something supernatural, so to speak. Without the introduction of this ingredient, the flour could never rise on its own. And in a similar way, at conversion, God introduces a living activating agent. Something external. Something supernatural. That has the potential to transform every aspect of our being. That living, activating agent, I believe, is closely connected with the Word of God.
Second the leaven has to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. This implies some effort, a bit of work. It involves bringing the leaven into contact with every part of our being. It's speculation, admittedly, but the "three measures of meal" seem to hint at the three main divisions God has built into every human being: our physical, mental, and spiritual natures. (Seen in the sanctuary too). That is, the principles of Scripture must be thoroughly engraved into our spirit through memorization, grappled with in our mind until the meaning becomes clear, and then carried out in our daily life through persistent real life application. Essentially, God's Word needs to be kneaded into our life.
Last, it just takes time. The leaven works quietly, patiently, invisibly, until proof of its existence becomes visible outside. Just as the loaf finally rises, evidence of the leaven within--so the Word must reshape our lives, until it becomes clear something miraculous is changing us. The Word is specifically designed, over time, to permeate every part of the lump.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is not just a binary question of choosing sides--as important is that may be. Rather, it is about life and growth. The Word of God, when received into the heart is like leaven. And our part is to give consent that "the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified" through our daily experience (II Thessalonians 3:1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:). God's leaven is a continually expanding process. It produces an ever deepening loyalty to the ways of heaven.
Of course, if that is how the kingdom grows, it suggests questions to assess how that process is working in our life. Have we had that supernatural conversion that brings the Word to life? Are we faithfully taking Scripture into the life? Are we memorizing it? Meditating on it? Applying it? Is the invisible Word inside, producing visible, real life change outside? Does heaven have free access to every part of our life?
Ultimately, our only hope is to obtain this living, active leaven. And to yield ourself fully to its influence in our life.
|Posted by Kathryn D. Search on 10/07/21|
|By God's grace the leaven is working in my life. I am endeavoring to to keep my mind off myself and concentrate on His work and His goals. Matthew 6:33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven....." Getting mind off self and stayed on Christ, gives the leaven a chance to work thoroughly.
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